Indiana Daily Student

Striking a blow

For as long as anyone I’ve talked to can remember, French people have loved to go on strike. About, well, everything.

Train conductors, are you unhappy about your wages? Strike, and shut down parts of the city’s transportation system. This has happened three times since I’ve been here, including a strike Tuesday affecting one of the main commuter train lines.

During the first weekend of our spring break, the entire Charles de Gaulle Airport decided to go on strike, cancelling hundreds of incoming and outgoing flights along with many of my classmates’ sunny travel plans.

A friend of mine who studied here last semester said the entire public transportation system went on strike the day she left to come home, making it significantly more difficult to get to the airport an hour away.

Transportation workers aren’t the only ones doing it. My host family has rattled off instances of postal workers, teachers and city sanitation workers doing the same.
Basically, anyone who can go on strike here will.

And there’s not really anything anyone can do about it. These interest groups all have their little tantrums for a day or so, and then everything goes back to normal. Sometimes they’re successful. Sometimes they aren’t.

But it’s an accepted fact of life here, so strikes no longer faze residents the way they do American students trying to navigate this city for three months.

At some point, you would think that they would try a new method to protest unfair wages or policies. Shake things up a bit. Surprise people.

But that’s another thing that I love about this city: It’s impossible to understand, no matter how many croissants you eat, miles you walk in high heels or strikes you witness.

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